GS Trophy 2012

GS Trophy Day 3 So Far...

Today it was time for the GS Trophy to get serious as competitors were awakened at 6am in the knowledge that it was 'Marathon Day' – a long, hard 450km day in the saddle under a blazing Argentinian sun, with a couple of 'extra' Specials thrown in for good measure.

Realising that today would require the highest levels of concentration and skill, most participants had retired to bed as early as possible, knowing that the actioin would start early and finish late. As soon as breakfast was eaten, Camelbaks were filled with water and then bikes filled with fuel at the nearest gas station.

After experiencing 'rush hour' in the picturesque tourist resort of Saint Martin de los Andes, the participants left the asphalt and headed south, venturing off-road deeper and deeper into Patagonia, leaving GS rooster trails of dust in their wake as the mountains got taller, the scenery more rugged and the many lakes reminiscent of Norwegian fjords.

Before long, it was time for the first Special of the day, which involved a water crossing of course. Each nation was tasked with pushing their F 800 GS bikes – one by one – through a deep and slippery river, with uneven pebbles and rocks to overcome, and a steep bank to negotiate. It was great entertainment and inspiring for everyone to watch, but a physically exhausting task for those involved. How teams approached the exercise was just as interesting too, with some opting to just rush into the water and see what happened, while others gave a lot of thought to where and how to cross, with some even walking the course in advance to see where the main obstacles were to be found.

A few kilometres further down the road, a similar task had to be undertaken which ensured that anyone who hadn't got properly wet in the last exercise had a chance to properly fill their boots with water in the deeper river. What was great to see was the support and cheering for all the competitors, also by those they were competing against, showing that the GS Trophy spirit of camaraderie is truly alive and kicking.

With a packed lunch stowed on board their F 800 GS bikes, all the participants headed back out on the trail, with many hours of riding through the ever changing mountain lanscape still ahead of them. As the time of writing, all the riders are still out there, heading due south to the Perma Hue Estancia in Bariloche.

We'll bring you more updates later tonight after they have all arrived back safely, along with an update of the scores for the day and the full results of the first GS Trophy 2012 photo competition.

GS Trophy Day 3 – The Conclusion

As the sun set over the picturesque mountains surrounding the Peuma Hue Estancia, the sound of BMW GS engines could be heard, as late arrivals made their way down the three kilometre track to the awe-inspiring ranch set in the surroundings of the Nahuel Huapi National Park.

Having completed a Marathon day of riding, there were many relieved, but tired faces that sat down in the BMW bivouac to yet another hearty meal of meat, meat and more meat! The day had taken its toll on most riders, with the 450km liaison punctuated by the two Special stages already mentioned, plus a third Special that required the teams of riders to carry their three F 800 GS BMWs over a thick tree trunk of considerable proportions. Easier said than done of course, as sheer physical strength had to be combined with stamina, balance and a high level of fitness – especially for the Russian team, who were a member light and had to rely on the assistance of one of the support drivers.

After this final Special for the day, the teams continued on the twisting gravel tracks until they finally reached the respite of a paved road, which took them all the way to the huge ranch, where it took another five minutes of riding down yet another track to make it to the rest stop where the teams will remain for the next two nights. Dinner and a few drinks among fellow competitors was the perfect way to wind down after many long hours in the saddle.

Suitably fed and nourished, it was time for the organisation team to update and communicate all the scores for the day, which also included the full results of the first GS Trophy 2012 photo competition. The honours went to Team Brazil, whose artfully staged night shot of the GS bikes had secured the most votes from around the globe, followed by the South African's 'wanted' picture from yesterday's border crossing into Argentina. Rounding out the top three was the UK's creative photograph taken through the spokes of the front wheel of an F 800 GS.

As for the scores, there were many changes in the leaderboard, due to the fact that this evening's totals included points for the three Specials, plus extra points awarded for the photo competition ranking. In summary, day three of the GS Trophy saw Germany take the overall lead after a strong showing, with France slipping down to second place and Argentina rising up to third place from eighth yesterday.

Tomorrow promises to be a fantastic day for all involved, with the competitors due for a few suprises in this amazing Patagonian paradise.

1. Germany 98
2. France 92
3. Argentinia 88
4. Italy 85
5. Alps 81
6. Canada 81
7. Latin America 76
8. UK 75
9. USA 71
10. CEEU 69
11. South Africa 60
12. Brasil 45
13. Russia 36
14. Spain 32
15. Japan 27

Don't forget to send messages of support to all the teams as they continue this amazing competition over the next four days.